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Every Monday morning at 6:49 and 8:49, IPR News Radio looks into the night sky with Mary Stewart Adams, former Program Director and founder of the International Dark Sky Park at the Headlands, who has been telling stories of the night sky on IPR since 2013.

Angels, Dreams, and Falling Stars: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

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This week as the Perseid Meteor Shower achieves its peak, I imagine that the thrill of seeing a falling star and making wishes comes from a deep soul memory of being in the presence of the divine, which was understood in former times as the presence of the “hidden god.”

The birth of Perseus, like the birth of the Christ Child and the birth of the Buddha, was preceded by an immaculate conception, which is always announced quite specifically: with the Christ Child, the Archangel Gabriel made the annunciation to the Virgin Mary with a lily; with the Buddha, the annunciation came in the form of a sacred dream to his mother, Queen Maya; and with Perseus, it was a shower of golden stars from the high heaven that rained down upon the princess Danaë indicating that the hidden god was at hand and that something sacred was about to occur.

In each case, the annunciation meant that the boundary between the physical and the spiritual worlds was being crossed, and a gift was making its way to humanity. Gifts like this are announced by angels, in dreams and by way of falling stars.

But in our modern era, realizing such a gift requires a more active, conscious participation by the human being ~ the stars no longer speak to humanity as they once did. Instead, we must speak from the physical world back to the stars.

So if you go out this week to cast your wishes to the meteor shower of the mighty hero Perseus, consider these words of Austrian poet Marie Rainer Rilke:

“I feel it now: there’s a power in me to grasp and give shape to the world. I know nothing has ever been real without my beholding it. All becoming has needed me. My looking ripens things and they come toward me to meet and be met.”